|Softball Splits on Day Two of the UCF Invitational|
Sophomore Courtney Brandt threw a three-hitter in game one and junior Meredith Owen tossed a five-hitter in game two as Stetson split a pair of games Saturday afternoon at the UCF Holiday Inn Select Tournament in Orlando. The Hatters dropped a tightly contested 1-0 decision to Texas-Arlington earlier in the day before defeating Buffalo 5-1 in the nightcap.
Stetson (2-5) recorded a season-high nine hits against Buffalo including triples by Chrissy Morello and Brandt and RBI doubles by Jessica Griffin and Sarah Read.
"I was really disappointed with the first game," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said. "We outhit them, we made less errors but we just didn't have the timely hits with runners in scoring position.
"I was pleased with the way the girls turned it around in game two," Griffin continued. "We got a real good pitching performance, we started stringing some hits together, and it was a good win."
Brandt threw six strong innings in the 1-0 loss to Texas-Arlington. She allowed just three hits and struck out two in a complete-game effort.
UTA pitcher Callie Collins allowed just five hits for the Mavericks (3-1), who won both their games Saturday by identical 1-0 scores. Rebecca Stokes drove in the only run of the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning.
In game two, freshman Jessica Griffin hit a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the first to give Stetson a 2-0 lead. The wind blew Griffin's short pop fly back towards the infield before the ball dropped in safely between three Buffalo defenders, allowing Morello and Molly Shasteen to score on the play.
Andi Saucier hit an RBI double for the Bulls in the top of the second to cut the Hatters lead to 2-1. However, Stetson got the run back in the bottom of the third as Brandt led off with a triple and scored on Morello's two-out single down the left field line.
Owen made the lead hold up, and the Hatters added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Morgan Hatch singled and pinch-runner Jordan Cleghorn scored on Read's double to left. Morello then tripled with two outs scoring pinch-runner Kayla Drury from second.
Morello went 3-for-7 on the day with two RBI while batting in the two-spot in the batting order for the first time this season.
"I felt a lot of pressure was off of me batting second," Morello said. "I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself batting first, and today I just went up there and hit the ball when it was in the strike zone. I just felt a lot more comfortable."
Owen (2-1) scattered five hits over seven innings en route to her second win of the season. She walked one and struck out three.
"It was probably the two best performances of the year for each of them," Griffin said about Brandt and Owen.
"Both pitchers did a great job, they kept the ball in the spots they needed to," Morello said. "I felt like if we had gotten a few more hits for Courtney we would have won that game for her."
The Hatters will return home to host the Hatter Classic next weekend at Patricia Wilson Field. Stetson will play Bethune-Cookman and Dartmouth on Friday, and Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
Notes: Brittany Hawn had three hits while batting in the lead-off spot for the first time this season ... Stetson turned two line drives into double plays defensively ... Stetson has three triples this season (none in 2012) ... Game two was played in a steady 25+ mph wind ... It was Stetson's first-ever meetings with UTA and Buffalo.
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